Here is a completed family photo of my Space Marines (or Adeptus Astartes as they’re now called) for Warhammer 40,000. It’s not a particularly tightly designed force, nor is it really very effective on the tabletop, but rather a mish-mash of stuff that I liked and wanted to paint. In the end I didn’t particularly find Space Marines much fun on the tabletop so I suppose that this project is shelved for now; however I might easily be tempted back by the fun of painting.
This lady is a Primaris Chaplain on Bike, the final piece in my Adeptus Astartes (i.e. Space Marines) collection for Warhammer 40,000. She’s thematically linked with the Outriders I’ve painted up lately, at least in the sense that they’re all riding the same kind of motorbikes. Being an HQ unit, the Chaplain can be kitted out with various Relics and Warlord traits and I’ve had most success just tooling her up for pure offense and figuring that if she can get into melee and bring down something big I’ll be able to live with inevitably losing her on the counter-punch. That said, I’m not a very good player of the game so probably an different approach would be far better!
I absolutely loved painting the Chaplain. For one, she’s a blinged-up murderous space vicar on a motorbike and it’s hard not to enjoy such a concept. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for biker themed armies, right down to loving the original Speed Freeks formation in Epic, now some 30 years in my past. I kept the basics of the painting similar to my other Space Marines, especially the Outriders, in that she has green and white armour and a black and green motorbike. But even compared to other Space Marines, the Chaplain is covered in extra badges, purity seals, swimming certificates etc which really broke up the painting of the ‘basic’ colours and lifted the whole process for me. It’s also quite iconically 40K that one of her key bits of kit is a massive book to be carted around on the front of her bike. Now that I’m finished, I think that the main thing I would change is to spend a bit more time on her hair – particularly in the brightness of the lightbox it is too close in tone to her skin and it would really have benefitted from another round of highlights.
So with the completion of this Chaplain, I’ve now painted all of my Space Marines. Of course, all hobbyists know that such a project is never truly complete so I imagine that I’ll be picking up some more in due course. In the meantime, I’m going to try to find a way to get them all in a nice picture together for one final family photo.
Next on the painting table: Daredevil.
Here is the second combat squad of Primaris Reivers for my Adeptus Astartes (Space Marines) army in Warhammer 40,000. I haven’t really been playing much with my Space Marines lately as I’ve used mainly Death Guard with some outing for both Orks and Chaos Knights. The latter two have been shelved again as they’re both pretty much skew lists and therefore not actually as much fun to face. As for the Reivers, I haven’t had any more success finding a use for these ladies on the table so they’re just stuck waiting for me to stop being rubbish at 40K or for an update to the rules to shake things up.
The Reivers are painted the same as the rest of my Space Marines. Getting the white to look even slightly smooth still takes quite a few coats and I find that stage interminable. Then once the white is ready for the magic of Nuln Oil, the painting becomes a joy and I can bash through the rest of the process without delay. These heads are from the first batch I bought from Statuesque minis; when I was assembling the Reivers I felt that they were noticeably too big but now that I’ve become used to it I don’t think it makes much of a difference. I will note that the simple act of using alternative heads on the Space Marines has really made a difference to my motivation to paint them – they just feel like they’re specifically my Space Marines rather than just another army of what I suspect is the single most common miniature range in the hobby.
Next on the painting table: Jean Grey.
Here are another trio of Primaris Outrider for my Adeptus Astartes (or Space Marines, if you’re old like me) army in Warhammer 40,000. In terms of performance in the game, I don’t have much to add from the first unit I painted. I find their output a bit uninspiring and I suspect that this is because they’re well suited to shredding swarms of lightly armoured enemies which I basically never see on the table in my gaming group. Nonetheless, there is something very fun about a bunch of armour-clad transhumans zipping about the battlefield on motorbikes and hitting fools with space-chainsaws so they’ll continue to make appearances for me whenever I play Space Marines.
In order to keep them consistent with the rest of the Space Marines, I’ve obviously chosen the same colour scheme of white, black and green for these Outriders. I’ve found it to be a bit of a drag for the first part of the painting process as it just feels like endlessly layering on thin white coats (and endless correcting my errors!) until I hit them with Nuln Oil. Then the magic begins and I really enjoy it after that. Anyway, I’m quite pleased with these ladies, and perhaps more importantly I’m down to just 6 Space Marines in my Pile of Shame.
Next on the painting table: Baron Mordo.
This is a squad of Reivers, a Primaris unit for the Adeptus Astartes (Space Marines) within Warhammer 40,000. Rules-wise, Reivers a bit of an oddity. They can deep-strike and have various rules around affecting morale of enemies nearby; however they’re not particularly good at fighting and morale has been hilariously ineffective in every game I’ve played of 40K. I suspect that there is some value in a big game to taking the smallest and cheapest squad of these ladies, parachuting them in late game and scoring a few VP doing actions in a quiet corner. Reivers can also be added to Spectrus Kill Teams in Death Watch, but doing so makes the rest of the team lose most of their cool special rules so I’m not really sure why I would want to do so.
The Reivers were painted in the same white, green and black scheme as their sister Space Marines. I actually assembled this unit first when I was testing out the alternative heads, though I somehow failed to make any further progress with the painting for almost a year! The heads are a fractionally bigger scale than the ones I’ve ended up using for the rest of the Space Marines, which I think makes it look more like they are big warriors in normal sized armour instead of being normal sized warriors in big armour. I find with these squads of Space Marines that I get about halfway through the painting and find it a bit of a grind, then somehow turn a corner (usually when I apply the main Nuln Oil wash!) after which it becomes a joy once more.
Next on the painting table: Beast.
Here are a trio of Outriders, a unit for my slowly-ongoing Adeptus Astartes (or Space Marines, if you’re old-fashioned like me) force for Warhammer 40K. As you might expect from a team of motorbiking, sword-wielding post-humans, this lot are a highly mobile unit mainly focused on close-quarters fighting. Sadly, because of a combination of me being awful at the game and my constant poor choice of potential victims for the Outriders, the usual game proceeds with them zooming around a bit and shooting quite ineffectually, then charging into melee and being blended out of existence without achieving a great deal of anything. The standard unit size is three, but in Death Watch they can be added to Fortis Kill Teams and ride around in a group of up to five if they feel like it.
The Outriders were a unit that felt like a bit of a slog right until the last few touches of paint were applied when suddenly everything came together beautifully, and in the end I’m very pleased with the outcome. The riders were painted in the same white, black and green scheme as the rest of my Astartes. I eventually decided to make the bikes green; this would tie them into the Chapter colour scheme, keep them distinct from the predominantly white armour of the Space Marines and also not blur into the black of the tires.
Next on the painting table: Proxima Midnight.
This is a second combat squad of Assault Intercessors to be part of my Space Marines (Adeptus Astartes) army in Warhammer 40K. There’s not much more to say about them than I mentioned for the previous squad; they’re the basic troops of the faction and they specialise in close quarters combat. I opted to give the sergeant a Power Fist mainly because it’s such an iconically 40K weapon; really embodying the ethos of ‘I fly across the galaxy in mile-long spaceships, purely so that I can punch you on the nose’.
The painting was the same as the rest of the Space Marines. I think that the white on the Intercessors’ armour really shows up the difference between really skilled painters and me. My minis look fine on the tabletop, but in these brightly lit zoomed-in photos all sorts of errors are evident. When I look at the many highly-skilled bloggers I like to follow, there is no such evidence of paint-streaking, wash-pooling etc even when they post really great photos. I love this hobby; there are so many ways to continue to improve even after an unholy number of years of enjoying it.
Next on the painting table: Killmonger.
These fine ladies are Assault Intercessors for my Space Marines / Adeptus Astartes force in Warhammer 40K. They’re the spiritual successors of old-fashioned Assault Marines, though for whatever reason they don’t come with the jump packs that were the main draw for their inclusion in armies in the first place. Nonetheless, Space Marines are as tough as nails and do just fine at close quarters and melee so this loadout of pistol and sword is quite fitting. In the event that I play Death Watch, the only downside of Assault Intercessors is that they don’t fit into any Kill Teams. Luckily, recent experience is telling me that I’m utterly terrible at 40K so I’ve stopped worrying about the relative power of any of my army options and just gone with rolling the dice with friends.
I adore the dynamism of the sculpts for the Assault Intercessors; though it is true that a close friend of mine quite uncharitably (but accurately) refers to them as ‘skippies’ since they look like they’re frolicking into battle. The heads here are mostly from Shapeways and I’m really impressed with the quality of the printing; I’d recommend them for anyone wanting to mix up their GW armies with alternative heads. The paint scheme is, of course, the same as my previous Space Marines. On the one hand, I do love the look of a fully painted coherent army. But on the other, more pertinent hand, I find it a bit of a drag to paint essentially the same scheme on 50ish models. Character driven skirmish games are my preference these days for that reason among others.
Next on the painting table: Boomdakka Snazzwagon.
This is a Librarian, my first HQ choice for my Space Marine (Adeptus Astartes) force in Warhammer 40,000. Librarians in Warhammer 40,000 are more interested in exploding fools using the power of their minds rather than collecting late fees, though I imagine that someone out there has modified one to be doing the ‘shush’ finger pose. Now that I think of it, Space Marine wizards have been called Librarians for as long as I can recall and I don’t think I ever got to the bottom of why that is the joke. If anyone out there can illuminate me I’ll be very interested to find out what it is.
The Librarian has a classic pose, using the ‘reaching out to zap with magic from my fingers’ look beloved of wizard miniatures everywhere, and I absolutely loved painting her. The bulk of the armour is, of course, in the same style as my other Space Marines but I enjoyed the extra bling she’s carrying such as the locked book and associated key hanging off her belt. I went for anime-style pink hair after a bit of discussion with my son as it tied in nicely with the pink on the tubes (what are they even for?) hanging off the Librarian’s armour. For the record, he though it looked silly and felt that I should give her brown hair.
Next on the painting table: Kustom Boosta-Blasta.
Here is a squad of Eliminators, or snipers as I think of them since I constantly get confused by all the different names for modern Space Marines. Needless to say, they’re going to be part of my Adeptus Astartes for Warhammer 40,000. These particular Eliminators are armed with bolt snipers (the other option is las-fusils) which seems suitable for picking off medium targets. In 8th edition the Eliminators were my bane when playing against Gareth, mercilessly mowing down anything that I put in their way. It looks like some of the silliest rules have now been tuned down in 9th edition just in time for me to start using them. They could be part of a Spectrus kill team if I play as Deathwatch; I suspect that there are probably some shenanigans possible there if only I was good enough to understand them.
The Eliminators were a lot of fun to paint. The presence of the cloaks gives a very different feel compared to the other Space Marines and moves the colour balance toward being more green than white. I’m not sure at what point I decided that their weapons would be all gunmetal colour rather than partly black but I quite like the business-like look. It was only after I finished assembling the squad that I realised that none of them are posed actually using their bolt snipers which is quite an oddity. Finally, I love that on the box art for the Eliminators there are some sample schemes including Imperial Fists with bright yellow armour under a beautifully painted camouflage-patterned coat.
Next on the painting table: Boomdakka Snazzwagon.